creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Natural Resources 1: Ephemeral Connection

On a recent trip to Seattle, I found myself alone with a free afternoon to wander along Puget Sound toward the Olympic Sculpture Park, armed with my camera and a notebook. After several days of sunshine, the cloudy sky and occasional drizzling rain that has come to stereotype the region lay overhead -- and I loved it! Feeling stimulated by the sculpture, the crisp breeze, the water, the trees, and rocks around me, I took the opportunity to connect with the surrounding environment for a few hours inspired by one of my favorite contemporary artists, Andy Goldsworthy. The pictures in this blog are from some of the simple works I created from that experience.

Goldsworthy is a site-specific sculptor and photographer who utilizes natural materials gathered from their surrounding environment to form stunning works of temporary or permanent art. His approach to making art is sort of a revelation in these modern times. He reminds us of our connection to Nature and how available Its resources are, and have been to us all along, without the need of processing or artificial refinement (other than some simple arranging). If you haven't seen the documentary "Rivers and Tides" yet, do yourself a favor and watch it immediately. His philosophy and approach towards making art is simply sublime.

His works also urge us to accept the ephemeral state of our lives (a key element of Your ReBegin). His art often exists for just a brief window of time, which he captures by camera, before Nature reclaim Its materials.

"Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit." - AG

Goldsworthy will work in a region for days/weeks/months learning to understand the environment well and has spent years mastering his craft. But we can learn to take his method and philosophy, applying it to all manner of shorter time spans for creative exercises. Perhaps you can make regular expeditions in your own neighborhood or explore a new area for just a few minutes.

I consider these photographs like sketches, and my process that afternoon like a little workout for my creative muscles that brought me in closer communion with nature. I tried to balance enough time to delve into the process and not feel rushed, yet be brisk enough to keep moving and never linger too long in one place or one piece (hence sketches).

Such expeditions are a matter of "listening" to your surroundings and creating with and for nature, rather than imposing upon it. You get to discover the natural resources around you and work with whatever your environment offers you. As with normal photography you have the beauty of nature to frame, but add in your response to working with the surrounding materials, and what you get is something like photographing your dialogue with Nature. 

The ReBegin logo made from litter and pebbles

More to come!

Flourish of orange leaves on log viewed at a distance

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